Who is BC Playing?
When is BC Playing?
Saturday, Sept. 19, 12:00 p.m.
Where is BC Playing?
Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, N.C.
How to Watch:
The game will be livestreamed on NESN.
How to Listen:
Audio broadcast of the game will be streamed via BCEagles.com.
A Duke-BC matchup is unusual, as the two teams, hailing from different divisions, have met just eight times ever. BC first took on Duke (0-1, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) way back in 1927, and since then, the Eagles hold a narrow 4-3 edge over the Blue Devils. Only four of those meetings have been conference games, and the two teams have split that part of the series 2-2. All together, Duke is an unfamiliar foe to the Eagles’ program, and it’s a matchup that comes solely as a result of an unusual schedule.
One Eagle, however, knows the Duke program like the back of his hand. Defensive line coach Vince Oghobaase—hired in January to join Hafley’s revamped coaching squad—was a four-year starter for the Blue Devils from 2006 to 2009. He then began his coaching career in Durham as a graduate assistant in 2011, when the Blue Devils made their first bowl appearance since 1994. The trip to Wallace Wade Stadium will be somewhat of a homecoming for the Houston native, who has yet to coach against his former team in his professional career.
What to Expect from Duke:
Duke is coming off a loss to No. 7 Notre Dame, sure, but that setback is what the College Football Playoff Selection Committee might describe as a “quality loss”. It may have been a two-score game, but the Blue Devils hung on with the Fighting Irish for most of the contest, only to let it slip out of reach in the final quarter. Quarterback Chase Brice was the backbone of Duke’s solid offensive performance with 259 yards through the air on 20-for-37 passing.
But where the Blue Devils succeeded in the air, they failed on the ground. Duke’s ball carriers combined for 110 total yards, 45 of which came from Brice. With head coach David Cutcliffe calling the plays this year, though, the Blue Devils are focused on a more pass-heavy offense, which nearly negates the need for a strong run game.
Most notably, though, from Duke’s opener against Notre Dame was the significant momentum shift after half time. Though the Blue Devils stayed toe to toe with the Irish throughout the first half, Duke suffered a remarkable momentum drop-off after they went to the locker rooms. The Blue Devils’ offense managed a meager 82 yards in the second half compared to 246 in the first, giving Notre Dame the leeway it needed to open up the game.
The Blue Devil defense showed flashes of greatness in its opener against Notre Dame, particularly in the first 15 minutes. Duke held Notre Dame scoreless in the opening quarter by forcing three three-and-outs. After that, however, the Blue Devils found themselves plagued by missed tackles, including a failed wrap-up by cornerback Josh Blackwell to allow for a Notre Dame third-down conversion late in the game.
Last year, Duke found itself ranked No. 56 in the country for total defense—compared to BC’s No. 125—allowing an average of 379.6 yards per game. In its opener, Duke allowed 461 total yards of offense, which would be a rough statistic if it weren’t for the fact that Notre Dame’s offensive yardage averaged in the mid-400s all of last season.
This year’s Sept. 19 kickoff is the latest season opener BC since 1981, when the Eagles also began their season on Sept. 19. That year, BC took down Texas A&M 13-12 in head coach Jack Bicknell’s debut game. As a first-time head coach, Hafley will undoubtedly face his fair share of challenges, starting with the fact that Duke has a one-game edge over BC, allowing the Blue Devils to adjust after last week’s performance. Duke is the favorite, but expect a close—potentially high-scoring—battle of two efficient offenses.
Featured Image Courtesy of Notre Dame Athletics via ACC Media